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Tonight marks the last night that Alexisonfire will be on a UK stage. Their second, and final night at Brixton Academy held a distinct sadness between the band and their fans, but as vocalist George Pettit rightly exclaims, “this is not a funeral, it’s a fucking wake”.

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Opening to a typically raucous start with ‘Young Cardinals’, it takes no time at all for the sold-out audience to grasp the little time left with the band, and the pits widen, the screams louden, before the band march straight into crowd pleasers ‘Boiled Frogs’ and ‘Pulmonary Archery’. Onstage, there is no tension; Alexisonfire are making the most of their farewells, amicably powering their way through their farewells, which will see Dallas Green pursue his side-project City and Colour as a full-time job, while Wade MacNeil will be gracing the stage as Gallows’ frontman.

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As the set progresses, hardcore fans are treated with two tracks from 2004’s ‘Watch Out’, firstly ‘No Transitory’ followed by the anthemic ‘Get Fighted’, a song which holds teenaged memories for a large percentage of the Academy’s audience. The nostalgia is even more rife with a track from their debut, ‘Waterwings (And Other Poolside Fashion Faux Pas)’, but at this point in the set, it would have been nice to have seen this be replaced with a slower song, so the energetic crowd could have at least a slight breather; but they don’t care, as they scream the lyrics back at the band with adoration.

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Nobody is forgetting why the band are here- particularly AOF themselves, who are giving everything they have ever had for this show. The shirts are off, the riffs are loud, the mid-song chatter kept to a minimum. They wanted their fans to experience the decade-long history of Alexisonfire as accurately as possible in their two hour set. This is highlighted as they play ‘Rough Hands’, slower than their usual fast-paced racket, but still packed full of emotion, a genuine sadness. There’s little time to get too sentimental, though- ‘Midnight Regulations’ revives the chants which have been laced within nearly every song tonight, and ‘Hey, It’s Your Funeral Mama’ brings the crowd back to a circle-pitted high speed, the stunning guitar work heard on record truly coming to life in this song.

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Nearing the end of the set, AOF finally pull out the anticipated hit ‘This Could Be Anywhere In The World’, a highlight of the set- not because it’s ‘the most popular song’, but because it’s the song that introduced the majority of people to the band. The atmosphere lifts to the top of Brixton Academy, past the statues adorning the side of the stage, past the balcony full of fans, as everybody feels united through a song which is so reminiscent of a whole generation’s adolescence. Before final song ‘Accidents’, Pettit thanks the UK for their support, telling the crowd “we have so many incredible memories from being here”. The thankfulness is reciprocated by their fans; those who have seen them before don’t want their memories to end, while first-timers are kicking themselves for not seeing them before.

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As the band return onstage for the encore, the first thing in sight is their silhouetted bodies, a ghost of the band, which seems appropriate in the circumstance. But it’s not over yet; Dallas Green’s voice is truly allowed to shine through with the songs chosen- ‘The Northern’, ‘Dog’s Blood’ and ‘Happiness By The Kilowatt’, and it is purely spine-tingling. The rest of the band force the fans into yet another frenzy, and 23 songs later, Alexisonfire are gone.

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There’s little to say by the end of the set. As the audience spills out onto the streets, fans look dazed, sad, in awe of what they had seen- but nobody seemed disappointed. Alexisonfire ended on a high, and, as a group of highly talented individuals, they will all go on to create incredible new projects, but it is a real shame to see one of the best Hardcore bands go. We’ll welcome you back for a reunion tour anytime, AOF.

Support act The Ghost of a Thousand

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Gig Review by Chloe Gynne
Gig Photos by Jordan Curtis Hughes

4 Responses to “Alexisonfire + The Ghost of a Thousand @ The O2 Brixton Academy, London, UK – 3rd December 2012”

  1. Wayne Says:

    Shiiiiiiiit hot guys!

  2. Bianca Says:

    Ditto ^ :)

  3. john bentley Says:

    I particularly love the one with the bass player on his knees!

  4. Meghan Bain Says:

    This brought a tear to my eye. Brilliant review for a brilliant night.

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